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Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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Kenyan Diaspora Decries ‘Bad’ Electoral Laws

The Kenya Diaspora now says foreign Kenyans have technically been knocked out of vying for key seats in Kenya by "prohibitive and discriminatory clauses" in electoral laws.

They say although the new Constitution allows Kenyans with foreign citizenship to vote in Kenya’s elections, clauses in the new Constitution practically knock them from contesting the presidency, parliament and the county assembly seats.

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Diaspora for Change, a pressure group of Kenyans living in the USA, Europe and Central and Southern Africa told pressmen in Nairobi Sunday that the Constitution should be amended to cure it of alleged discrimination and a census done to determine the actual number of Kenyans living abroad.

A statement by the group said it will be "logistically impossible" for Kenyans to vote if polling stations will be Kenya’s foreign missions abroad, as indicated by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

The statement also denounces suggestions to use embassy staff and high commissioners as returning officers, adding they are biased political appointees.

Group chairman, Dr Joe Mwangi Symmon said his ability to go for Nairobi Governor in 2012 is threatened by residence laws in articles 99(2)(c), 137(2)(a) and 193(2) of the new charter, which says a person is disqualified from being elected to parliament, county assembly and as president if they have not been citizens of Kenya for ten years preceding the date of election.

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"It means that you have to renounce the citizenship of your naturalised country," Mwangi said, and accused the Kenyan electoral laws of treating foreign Kenyans as "second class citizens".

Spokesman George Nyakundi said Kenyans abroad have a right to vie because "we have a lot of interests here."

Source: http://standardmedia.co.ke/news/InsidePage.php?id=2000048554&cid=159&story=Diaspora decries ‘bad’ electoral laws

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